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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word
(2005), R [R*]
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(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Warner Bros., The Donners' Company , 3 Art Entertainment, Batfilm Productions, Di Bonaventura Pictures, Weed Road Pictures
Distribution (US): Warner Bros.
Director(s): Francis Lawrence
Producer(s): Gilbert Adler, Michael Aguilar, Lorenzo DiBonaventura, Akiva Goldsman, Cherylanne Martin, Josh McLaglen, Benjamin Melniker, Lauren Shuler Donner, Erwin Stoff, Michael E. Uslan, Lorenzo di Bonaventura
ComicBook: Jamie Delano, Garth Ennis
Story: Kevin Brodbin
Screenplay: Kevin Brodbin, Frank A. Cappello
Cinematography/Camera: Philippe Rousselot
Music: Klaus Badelt
Film Editing: Wayne Wahrman
Casting: Denise Chamian
Production Design: Naomi Shohan
Art Direction: David Lazan
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
While watching this Hellblazer comic-book-to-screen, I really did try to make enough Scriptural sense out of the story of this film to give you some semblance of a plot summary. But the story was too dim and disjointed because of so much fast-paced mixing of the Truth with manufactured "truth." The mixing of the Truth with manufactured "truth" was such that the Truth was made to appear counterfeit. An example of this was mortals taking a little trip to Hell to see if someone was there then returning. The Truth is that once one is condemned to Hell there is no escape. The chances of returning from Hell are infinitely less than the chances of a frozen orb of hand-packed crystalline dihydrogen monoxide surviving unscathed, entry through exit, an excursion through the subterranean location of exceeding exo-energetic electromagnetic radiation in the thermal band.
Such mixing of the Truth with conditional and convenience "truth", my friends and "family", is how the adversary works -- mixing Truth with untruth in strange philosophy of trickery and deceit that teases and entices our hedonistic, arrogant and rebellious nature to lure us astray and confuse us. And it doesn't matter to Satan where he leads us as long as it is away from Jesus. I am going to start with a little sermon about this.
Satan is the greatest trickster of global impact mankind has ever known. His first trick was mixing God's Truth with lies in fine-sounding argument and smooth talk in defiance of God's Word. God said to Adam and Eve that they may eat of any fruit in the Garden of Eden save one: that if they ate of the forbidden fruit "thou shalt surely die." [Gen. 2:17] God was not speaking to dropping dead at the first bite. He was telling Adam and Eve they would lose their immortality and would eventually fall to moral death. Satan, taking advantage of the ambiguity of this concept, beguiled Eve with "Ye shall not surely die." [Gen. 3:4] Eve then did eat of the forbidden fruit and convinced Adam to do the same and both lost their immorality (which is why we will each age and die). Well, Adam and Eve did not fall down dead when they first bit the forbidden fruit, but mortal death which before was not came to be ... because of Satan's trickery. Eve was the first victim of such trickery. And we have all suffered for it.
One of Satan greatest tricks is to convince many that God does not exist, keenly mixing that trick with the trick of convincing many others to think they don't need God: that we can deal with life and death all by ourselves all on our own; that nothingness lies on the other side of our last breath. Satan seasoned that trick with the salt of leading us to believe that whatever we choose to believe is the truth. Frosting for that trick is Satan convincing many others that even he does not exist.
Yet another great Satanic trick on mankind is to convince many that there are more than one god ... and goddess. Masterful is Satan, the one who does not say we are sinners. He has even convinced many that sin is not really sinful or that sin is relative: that there are no moral absolutes. Yet another of Satan's great tricks is convincing many that the Bible is no more than mortal man's attempts to control the populations with fear and calling it interpretation of God's Word thus making His Word seem subject to the personal preferences and social pressures of the time the Inspired pen was put to paper.
Satan has even convinced many of they who will not reject Jesus that God can be measured by their own standards: that He must live up to our expectations; that we can comfortably and safely be Christians on Sunday only; that God's Word is optional and can even be discarded when it gets in our way. Another very successful trick of Satan's is to convince us at a young age that we do not have to answer to any authority, especially parental, and in doing so making it easy for us when grown to not submit to Jesus -- and be comfortable with it. Arrogantly.
Amidst it all, Satan has tricked even the best of the believers that they have their heels dug in, steadfast in their faith as they compromise God's Word by situationally redefining it, counterfeiting it and conditionally applying it to fill their own bellies. All in the name of "interpretation", resting their arguments on the human frailty of they who put pen to paper for God thus thinking they show God He is not omnipotent nor omniscient after all: that He may be able to create the universe and all life in it but is not able to infallibly inspire what men write in His name that will impact the eternity of every one who has ever drawn a breath.
And the greatest of all of Satan's tricks is to convince us we are immune to his tricks, leading us by the nose into sin and away from Jesus while we think we are wise. These are just a few ...
End of sermon.
And thus, I suppose, is the plot and story of Constantine, placing some of God's Word up front while letting lies, counterfeitings and convenience interpretations of God's Word ooze around the Truth to take front stage, making the lies seem like the Truth. [2 Tim. 3:16] For example, once someone has been condemned to Hell, they don't come back. Not only did John Constantine (Keanu Reeves with Quinn Buniel and Connor Dylan Wryn at different ages), a Catholic who had committed suicide, go to Hell and back at will, so did Detective Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) go to Hell and back ... to visit her sister Isabel (also Rachel Weisz), another Catholic who had committed suicide. Does it seem like this movie is picking on Catholics? Or is it just picking on "Christian" in general?
At the beginning of the show, a Mexican worker found what was claimed to be the Spear of Destiny which was said to be the spearhead that pierced Jesus while hanging on the Cross. It was said also that he who possessed the Spear of Destiny held the fate of the world in his hands. Apparently, the spear protected the bearer from all harm since a speeding car literally wrapped its grill and engine compartment around the man holding the spear until what looked like the headlights facing each other, who then walked away from it. It is a gruesome display indeed. Few in the audience remained still at the sight of it.
Following the graphic impact of the car with the Mexican, Constantine performed an exorcism on a young Mexican girl (Johanna Trias) that makes the exorcism in The Exorcist look like a Sunday ice cream social but without the vulgarities by Linda Blair (or her voice-over/stand-in).
The story claimed God and Satan made a wager with mankind as the prize that they each stay out of man's lives except by influence only: that the angels in stay Heaven and the demons stay in Hell. That really flies in the face of God's Word which tells us of even children having guardian angels that behold the face of the Father.
The story also claimed the Catholic faith believes that once someone commits suicide they are condemned to Hell since, once dead, they cannot ask forgiveness for the sin of murdering the self. But Jesus said once we have been forgiven through Salvation that our sins are forgiven: past present; future. We may have to pay for the sins we commit after Salvation but at least the price we pay after Salvation will not be eternal condemnation to Hell since Jesus paid that price.
Murder himself. That is what Constantine did (not seen) then returned from Hell to deport back to Hell as many of the demons saturating Los Angels as he can, demons the people had no idea were flittering about. It seems Satan was cheating on his wager with God by sending demons to terrorize humans. John Constantine was trying to regain balance by sending the demons back to Hell for God, I think the script said, in an attempt to "buy" his way into Heaven.
That God and Satan made a wager sounds as if the story is saying God and Satan are equal in power and authority! God has already defeated Satan, first by casting him out of Heaven and second by defeating Satan's claim on man with the resurrection of Jesus. Satan's future lies in prison for all eternity when Jesus finally locks him up in Hell with a simple rotation of His hand holding the keys to the gates of Hell. [Rev. 1:18] Then Satan and sin will be no more.
Another example of the counterfeitings is their use of 1 Corinthians 17 scribbled in a window message left for Angela by her sister, Isabel who was condemned to Hell for committing suicide. A window message is one written with the finger on a window pane which is visible only when breath is blown across it. Such is certainly clever but there is no Chapter 17 in First Corinthians. Not even in Second Corinthians. But there is in Hell's bible which was conveniently available through a bowling alley attendant, Beeman (Max Baker). And which apparently bore an image of the upside down Cross on its cover. And with Jesus on the Cross. Upside down.
One rather dangerous portrayal was when Constantine confronted Midnite (Djimon Hounsou), owner of the Bowl Bowl Bowl club, who controls access to a special chair that enables Constantine to go to Hell and back. Midnite said he was neutral when it come to good and evil, Heaven and Hell, God and Satan. Constantine told Midnite he was lukewarm. That is a clear reference to Scripture where God wishes that we be either hot or cold, not lukewarm regarding faith and believing. God gave us a choice -- to believe or not believe. There is no "neutral" position to take, for by not making the choice as Midnite did not, the choice is made. There is no option to be "lukewarm."
The angel Gabriel was a potty-mouthed androgynous female (Tilda Swinton) while the Bible says otherwise. The beasts of Hell were maybe portrayed well, though, as toothy snarling skin-n-bone slithering creatures with the tops and contents of their skulls removed. Their heads were sort of like the cup on top of the stick used to catch a ball on a string attached to it.
Also risky for the viewer's understanding of the mystery of the Gospel was Constantine himself who was trying to "buy" his way into Heaven with good deeds, by his own good works. Even the counterfeit Gabriel told Constantine the only way into Heaven was to believe, ostensibly in Jesus as Lord and resurrected Savior whose Sacrifice paid the price of our sins. Constantine argued fervently that his good deeds would save him. B-a-d news! [Eph. 2:4 - 9]
Others in the cast include Pruitt Taylor Vince who plays Father Hennessy, a Catholic priest who locates demon-possessed people for Constantine to exorcise. Shia LaBeouf (I, Robot), while a little less potty-mouth than in I, Robot, plays Chas Chandler, an Angel City taxi cab driver who is trying to be an apprentice to Constantine. Peter Stormare plays Satan, complete with burned feet.
It is my recommendation, folks, if you choose to see this film that you not let it shape, guide or alter your perception of God's Word and the Gospel in any way, shape or form. Besides, God advises us to avoid all appearances of evil. [1 Thess. 5:22] God also advises us as to with what we should feed our minds. [Phil. 4:8] But if you do choose to to go, go with an open mind, understanding that some filmmakers can actually generate smooth-sounding rationale to oppose and color His Word and make doing so sound g-o-o-d. [Ps. 12:8, Jude 1:4] But be careful if you watch this movie that you do not open your mind so much as to let your brain fall out like the empty-headed demons in it. And when you finish watching it, don't forget to put the top back up.
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***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
(The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
|There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.|
|In the name of Jesus: |
Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
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